Family afraid police recruit’s murder may end up as cold case

Months after police recruit Harold Haimchand Sukhai was slain during a robbery, members of his family say that the way the police have so far investigated the case has left them unimpressed and with a feeling that nothing will ever come out of the matter.

To them, what is even more painful is that Sukhai was a recruit and yet the police seem uninterested in finding the killers so that they can get some closure and some if not all of their lingering questions answered.

It has been almost five months since Sukhai was killed and except for a few initial arrests, the investigation seems to have hit a brick wall. With each passing day and the uninspiring work of the investigators, Sukhai’s family believes that justice will never come.

Contacted about the case, Crime Chief Seelall Persaud told Stabroek News that there have been no further developments. He said that based on the circumstances surrounding the February 10 shooting, the 25-year-old was killed during a robbery.

Sukhai and a young woman were attacked as they walked along a street in Tuschen New Scheme, East Bank Essequibo. The police had said that their investigations had revealed that the attack occurred at around 8.30 pm, while Sukhai was accompanying his girlfriend to her home. The couple was attacked by three men, one of whom was armed with a firearm.

According to the police, the robbers took away the woman’s gold jewellery and her cell phone and shot Sukhai to his chest.  A bag containing his police uniform was taken from him, but it was dropped by the bandits as they fled. His body remained on the roadway for about half an hour before it was taken to the Leonora Cottage Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

It is suspected that the bandits were part of an armed gang wreaking havoc in the community as shortly before the attack on Sukhai, a man was attacked by three bandits fitting the description of the ones who killed the police recruit.

“We are not pleased with how the matter is going at Leonora Police Station,” a relative of Sukhai, who asked not to be named, said. The relative said that the last word that the family had received from the investigators was that the case file was at the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

“I am not pleased with the results,” the woman said, explaining that this has to do with the fact that of recent there have been no arrests in the case. She added that the family believes that the young woman that Sukhai was with at the time of the attack knows a lot more than she has revealed.

She insisted that the young woman was not his girlfriend as was being suggested by the police. She said that the woman never visited Sukhai until the day before he died. She opined that the woman was not “pressed enough.” “She basically holds the key ’cause she witness everything,” she stressed.

However, this newspaper was told that she was arrested several times for questioning in connection with the investigation.

Did not pay attention
A source with knowledge of the investigation said that the police did not “pay attention” from the beginning. The source noted that in keeping with investigative practices, the senior police officials in the Division failed to ensure that a patrol was sent into the area to search for the gunmen on the night of the attack. Instead, the source said, the police officials sat in their offices waiting for information to come to them.

It was further revealed to Stabroek News that the police were supplied with information but never pursued it, including information that the Sukhai’s companion’s boyfriend had threatened him.

Stabroek News was told that investigators seem not to be getting anything out of the woman. “They ain’t getting nothing but she gotta know. The place wasn’t too dark. She must have been able to see something and at least identify someone,” the source said.

The source accused the police of investigating the wrong people – a number of drug addicts and a taxi-driver, who were all released a few days after their arrest. It was further noted that the sloppy work of some of the ranks is giving the Division a bad name. The source was making reference to a statement by DPP Shalimar Ali-Hack that all the crimes that occurred in that Division for last year were unsolved. She blamed this on poor investigations.

‘Not confident’
Sukhai’s relative said that his family does not plan to sit down forever and accept the way things are going.

“…I am not confident with the way things going,” the woman said, while adding that what is most upsetting about the treatment of the case is that Sukhai was “part of the Force. He wasn’t a civilian.”

She added that “something is wrong with the detectives. We are not pleased” and hoped that Sukhai’s death will not become another cold case.

She said the man’s mother is grieving a lot. She has been unable to let go because she and Sukhai were very close and he made it his duty to look after her, the woman explained.

The relative noted that the police recruit was not afraid to walk around the area at nights, particularly since he had been a taxi driver and at one time he worked shift at a city business, which resulted in him reaching home in the wee hours of the morning.

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